Before our Vietnam experience, most Americans trusted their leadership and stood behind decisions to halt Communist expansion in Asia, much as we stopped the reds in Europe from expanding their empire westward. By 1973, however, after years of fighting without conclusive results, Americans turned against the war and no longer respected nor trusted our government in quite the same way again.
Make no mistake — pulling our forces out of Vietnam while promising “peace with honor” was an illusion that misled the American public and corrupted confidence in our political establishment.
I dislike doublespeak as much as I deplore sentimentality or apologies for acting stupid. Rage as a political strategy fits into the same category. Ditto painting traitors as heroes. Nostalgia merely numbs.